the bikini

i.

not love,

but

scampering around

to the locked shed,

etching chalk drawings

onto the driveway

as it baked in the sun—

 

the mirrored brilliance

and the chalk dust

blinded us

but I knew

she was there,

 

the moon’s smooth curves

grass in her hair.

 

ii.

I should probably

talk about

the title.

But how

 

to make you understand

summer

and

the knot

stretched tight

at the nape of her neck

 

drooping, crooked bow

I’d have

undone it

retied it

over under bunny ears,

but for

everything. 

you don’t know anything so don’t even

i.

I was born by the East River

The light there is perfect stainless steel

and every sound I ever swallowed is down there, still

 

ii.

I thought If I can get to the cradle

everything will be alright.

I forgot that the baby was gone

 

iii.

I remember girls and girls’ whispers What happened to her

as I stole through the bathroom

ringlets wilting in my hair, that man heavy on the bed

 

iv.

I had a dream

about the girl who climbs trees.

I think Ana heard me.

 

v.

I watch her write on the board

while the morning’s fist unfolds and infant light

beads my eyelashes and stills their quivering.

but gemma got out

meisel’s muse,

snejana onopka, with a star on her forehead

on the cover of vogue Italia

and round face naked

in ’03 (they say),

eyes flashbulb dull

 

natalia v. at nineteen

dressed like pretty baby gripping a teddy bear 

glaring at terry behind the camera,

hard mouth greased up with Cupid’s lifeblood

(vogue Nippon ’01)

 

the Russian rapunzel,

shorn-and-broken rose of the world, once asked

‘i’m so lost. will I ever

find myself?’

before

recollection

is the cruelest savor—

iron in your mouth,

tongue stroking along your teeth.

if you can remember

 

the dangling lights

shaped like seed pods

and the empty

parking lot,

you know

 

you are

no longer there.